Landis Gardens at the Bull’s Head Inn

By Louise Polli

In the heart of Cobleskill sits the state­ly Bull’s Head Inn, believed to be the town’s old­est build­ing. Erect­ed in 1802, the inn had been closed for four years. Now it is being restored to its for­mer glo­ry by new own­ers Chris Guld­ner and Mary Sagendorf.

The cou­ple has cre­at­ed a charm­ing restau­rant with vin­tage detail and his­tor­i­cal accu­ra­cy. The build­ing dates from the Fed­er­al peri­od, a mere 50 years sand­wiched between the Colo­nial and Vic­to­ri­an peri­ods. Their ren­o­va­tions had to bal­ance the restric­tions of the building’s place­ment on the Nation­al His­toric Reg­is­ter and cur­rent code require­ments. Notable fea­tures include restored wide plank floors and wood­en beams, ornate cast iron radi­a­tors, wall­pa­per repli­cat­ed local­ly from the orig­i­nal, and a stun­ning bar built from repur­posed pock­et doors found on-site.

The inn’s exte­ri­or received no less atten­tion to details and the structure’s his­to­ry. To estab­lish a land­scape plan that would be true to the building’s ori­gins, Mary and Chris turned to the Lan­dis Arbore­tum. Susan and John Sagen­dorf, long­time Lan­dis vol­un­teers, met with the Board of Trustees to bring news of the new­ly remod­eled inn and the own­ers’ inter­est in devel­op­ing an appro­pri­ate gar­den. The project began to take shape, mark­ing the begin­ning of a mutu­al­ly ben­e­fi­cial rela­tion­ship between Lan­dis and the Bull’s Head Inn. Vis­i­tors to the restau­rant will enjoy the gar­den, while mate­r­i­al dis­played at the inn will pro­mote the Arbore­tum. Mary not­ed, regard­ing the new land­scap­ing, The Arbore­tum is such an asset to the com­mu­ni­ty. That’s what start­ed the whole thing.”

Fred and Erin Breglia col­lab­o­rat­ed on the gar­den, which includes both herba­ceous and woody plants. Research was essen­tial to plan­ning the design, as most peri­od pho­tographs were lost due to local flood­ing. Plants were cho­sen to fit the site direct­ly in front of the inn’s entrance, now enhanced by a hand-craft­ed blue­stone wall and a gas lantern accent­ing the inn’s sign. For­mal hedg­ing is the back­bone of the design, as it would have been in 1802. Fred chose Green Gem® box­wood for its supe­ri­or col­or reten­tion, win­ter har­di­ness, and low height to show­case flow­ers behind it. The box­wood then left a blank can­vas for Erin, who designed a three-sea­son dis­play of ten flow­er­ing plants with an array of col­or and fra­grance to com­ple­ment the ever­greens and the Bull’s Head entrance. These include every­thing from Sweet William and columbine to del­phini­um and thrift. Chrysan­the­mums round out the palette and lay the gar­den to bed as the last autumn leaf peep­ers leave the Schoharie Val­ley.

Mary and Chris are delight­ed with the results, and plan to post a sign cred­it­ing the Arbore­tum for the beau­ti­ful gar­den, which Fred want­ed to keep classy and sim­ple.” A small patio area may be added, giv­ing din­ers the oppor­tu­ni­ty to take in the sights and scents of the gar­den close at hand. Be sure to stop for a vis­it. You may get some ideas for your own gar­den!

For more infor­ma­tion, vis­it the Inn’s web­site at www​.bull​sheadin​ncobleskill​.com

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Summer 2015

Volume 33 , Number 3

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